Human Services Guide

25 Best Fully Online Master’s in Social Work Programs for 2019-20

Best Online MSW Programs BadgeWe’re nearly twenty years into the 21st century, and there are is still no universal healthcare coverage, let alone universal access to mental and behavioral health services. It’s hardly worth mentioning that they missed the prediction on the flying cars we were promised too– none of those last we checked either… And sometimes it feels like the whole flying cars thing is actually more likely to happen before the day we see universal access to health and mental health services.

But despite these failures of policy and modern science, there is one way that technology has more than lived up to its promise of improving life and education: you can get a first-rate master’s degree in social work right from your kitchen table.

Despite this miracle of modern technology, though, there are actually relatively few fully accredited MSW programs offered entirely online. As a profession, social work is really all about face-to-face interaction. Many of the top schools of social work have been slow to adopt online education, even as the technologies have improved to reduce the gap in interpersonal interaction.

We’re here to help you find the cream of the crop when it comes to programs that are available entirely online. Whether you have a BSW and are looking for an advanced standing option, or need a part-time program to make time for life or work, you’ll find plenty of first-rate schools to choose from here.

A Focus On Programs Delivered Entirely (or Almost Entirely) Online

You will find quite a few truly 100% online programs here, but these programs are rare so we stayed flexible to make sure we aren’t leaving out some real winners for no other reason than because they have some minimal on-campus requirement.

A few of these programs require the occasional on campus visit, typically at either the beginning or end of your studies. But we just couldn’t stand to toss out the truly excellent 99.999% online programs just because you have to attend one short in-person orientation. We note the exceptions in the list but the general rule stands: your day-to-day classroom experience for every one of these high-quality master’s degree programs will be entirely online.

Baseline for “The Best” in Online Social Work Master’s Programs

Naturally, school accreditation was a mandatory point. Not just the basic university accreditation typically offered by either a regional or national accrediting body, but also the special, focused programmatic accreditation that only the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) can grant to top tier MSW programs.

A CSWE accreditation means that each of these programs has been put through the ringer by professionals who know what they are looking for. The academic standards are measured against real-world demands and techniques used in social work, and critical core competencies that students need to learn are assessed in terms of curriculum, instructor capability, and administrative support.

But CSWE accreditation was just the beginning of what we looked for…

Class Format Is Critical

Schools often mix and match synchronous (where you attend a virtual classroom in real time with fellow students and your professor) and asynchronous classes (where course content is uploaded by the instructor and you tackle it when you have the time). That’s often a good thing. It offers flexibility for you to shift class work to times of day that are convenient for you, while still forcing you to sit down and focus and interact with instructors and fellow students from time to time.

We picked programs that have online learning management systems that are modern and fully capable of the engagement that an advanced education in social work requires… while being intuitive and clean enough to stay out of your way as you’re trying to digest the information that’s being presented to you.

Field Placements Are A Challenge

Field placements are a big deal for social work master’s programs. You will spend hundreds of hours in hands-on practicum, so it’s pretty important you get hooked up with an agency where you fit in and where the work aligns with your long-term career goals.

That’s a big challenge when you are half a country away from your university, so we looked for schools that have a proven track record of helping distance learners get set up in the best possible field placements. Innovative approaches or big networks of providers were a good way to catch our attention here.

Value is Always a Consideration

We also looked hard at costs and value. Value is about more than just getting the cheapest tuition rate—it’s about what that money buys you. We found some very affordable programs and included them here, but we also selected more than a few that are relatively expensive. But despite the additional cost, those programs offer a whole lot of bang for your buck; the cost is worth it for all the extras.

A Little Something Extra Helps Make The Grade

Beyond the bare minimums of having a CSWE accreditation and meeting cost and course delivery standards, the programs on this list all had to show us a little something extra, too. You can’t say it’s the best if it’s just another cookie cutter program. You want something special, even if you’re looking at online options.

It’s not always just one thing, or one way of doing things… for example, we picked out programs that do a great job of offering you multiple concentration options because having choices like that can make a big difference if you hope to make a career out of any of those specialty areas. But we also picked programs that deliver a laser-focused curriculum based on a single area of expertise, recognizing that if you are going down that particular path, you want to walk it with someone who really knows the way.

The 25 Best Fully-Accredited Online MSW Programs in the Nation

There was more than one way for any given school to end up on this select list, but you’ll find something for here no matter what you’re looking for in an online MSW program.

 
Arizona State University

School of Social Work

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Online Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $796

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Named by U.S. News & World Report as #1 on their Most Innovative Colleges in America for 2019
  • Expert faculty with backgrounds in diverse areas such as gerontology and child welfare, including members of the National Academy of Public Administration and fellows of the APA and ACJS
  • Field Education Office helps ease the difficulty of finding internships sites in your geographic region to meet school and CSWE requirements

One of the largest and most diverse schools for social work in the United States got even more diverse when ASU took their Master of Social Work program online. With the ability to draw on students from every state, in every kind of employment (thanks to flexible, asynchronous class offerings), the school opened up eligibility to thousands who wouldn’t otherwise have the option to earn an MSW. That might include you, and it certainly includes your fellow students, who will bring perspectives and experiences to class that will expand your horizons and make you a better social worker. Two professional seminars, streamed live, are designed to help your professional development. The advanced generalist practice concentration offered by the program will give you the basis in behavioral health, community practice, administration, policy advocacy, and general welfare to branch out into any aspect of social work you choose after graduation. Due to the school’s location, it has a particular expertise to offer in terms of borderlands issues and human trafficking, with a unique degree of attention given to the cultural diversity and distinct populations of the American Southwest. Whether you are a fellow desert dweller or not, though, the ASU MSW is a top pick in online programs.

 
Boise State University

School of Social Work

Boise, Idaho

Website

Online Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $495

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Ranked #14 in the nation for Quality & Affordability for 2018 by the SR Education Group
  • Unprecedented online support for remote students from the Advising and Academic Support Center, the Boise State Writing Center, and other administrative departments
  • Advanced Standing Option available for BSW holders

Bringing the blue to you (for you non-football fans, the BSU turf is famously bright blue) is Boise State University’s top-ranked Online MSW program. Coming from Idaho, which is about as far from a being a hotbed of urban poverty and diversity as you can get, you might not have high expectations for the experience and expertise offered by BSU in social work. But you would be surprised at the rigorous and transformative curriculum put together by the expert faculty, who have built their experience working all over the country. Homelessness, child care, and substance abuse are no respecters of the urban/rural divide, and providing adequate clinical rural social work simply introduces another set of challenges to be overcome. The advantages to a non-urban school become even more clear when you look at the cost per credit of attending. You can take on field work in your own region or area and still enjoy rock-bottom tuition rates by picking the BSU program.

 
Boston University

School of Social Work

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $825

  • Delivery: 100% online (part-time only)
  • Weekly Live Classroom sessions help keep you on the same page with fellow students and your instructors
  • Major in Clinical Practice or Macro Practice
  • Three tracks available to complete the degree: Traditional, Human Service Experience, or Advanced Standing

As one of the leading private research universities in the Northeast, it’s pretty easy to predict that Boston University would have a killer School of Social Work. But the best aspect of their terrific Master of Social Work program is that they have put it entirely online, opening it up to thousands of students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to relocate and attend the on-campus program. And they’ve done it at a surprisingly affordable cost, considering the quality of the faculty and the caliber of courses available. It’s an enormously flexible program, with only one synchronous course required each week and the rest available for you to consume at a time and place of your own choosing. The majors in clinical or macro practice allow you to tailor your schools to the type of social work you hope to practice after graduation, while individuals with prior experience or a bachelor’s degree have fast-track options open to complete the program. The Advanced Standing track works as most such tracks do, allowing BSE students to effectively skip the first year of the MSW, but the Human Services Experience (HSE) track also offers something similar to any applicant with at least two years of supervised human services experience. That makes the school a clear choice for anyone looking to advance their social work career, but who doesn’t already have a bachelor’s in the field.

 
California State University, North Ridge

Department of Social Work

Northridge, California

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $752

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • One live online session per week helps tie you into your courses and provide real-time interaction with instructors and fellow students
  • A dedicated Program Manager offers ongoing support to students from application to graduation, helping to smooth out any remote learning wrinkles you might encounter

CSUN delivers their excellent and affordable online MSW in a cohort format, which offers you the support and interaction with fellow students that you will remember as the highlight of your education. Developing links and rapport with both those students and your instructors not only helps you through the demanding program, but also reinforces the lessons that you will learn about social work in general. With a particular expertise in urban family studies and urban social work, the CSUN MSW is primarily oriented at preparing practitioners to address social services needs in the Greater Los Angeles and Southern California region. It’s a strengths-based, community-oriented program that incorporates the history of the profession while tracking closely with current and rising local, national, and global issues that affect urban populations. A capstone course will have you performing an active research project with your cohort, making direct observations, reports, and conclusions that will draw on all of your training and pull it into a coherent culminating experience before graduation.

 
Columbia University

School of Social Work

New York, New York

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $1,564

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Offers 5 program completion choices, including advanced standing and transfer options
  • Degree specializations are available in Advanced Clinical Practice and Social Enterprise Administration
  • Further focus can be found in 2 field of practice concentrations, in Family, Youth, and Children’s Services or Health, Mental Health & Disabilities
  • A capstone project at the culmination of the course can be completed entirely online, or in person; a thesis option is also available

A Columbia MSW is a coveted degree (with a corresponding price tag!) that you used to have to move to New York City to earn. But with the introduction of their online MSW program, you can skip the added expense and hassle of moving to New York while still getting all the benefits of the deep experience and expertise offered by instructors at this hallowed Ivy League institution. The similarities between the online and on campus programs are reinforced by a synchronous, real-time class schedule, where you attend simultaneously at fixed times with the rest of your class. The Adobe Connect, webcam-driven system keeps you tightly connected with your professor and fellow students through breakout sessions, Q&As, and class projects. There’s no better way to build contacts in the field! At the same time, since you will have field placements that are local to you, you can get all the special regional expertise that you’ll need to make a career in social work where you live. You have the option of switching over to the regular on-campus MSW program at the start of any academic year, but with an online option this good, why would you?

 
Florida State University

College of Social Work

Tallahassee, Florida

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $444 (in-state), $625 (out-of-state)

  • Delivery: 100% online (for advanced standing students; 2 weekend visits required for traditional track)
  • Rated as the #1 Online Master of Social Work Program in Florida by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked in the Top 25 Best Value Social Work Programs by Kiplinger Personal Finance
  • Office of Professional Development offers an online job board and provides assistance to alumni through the social worker licensing process
  • An assigned Student Success Advisor will be on call to assist you at every point through the program, from online enrollment to field placement support

As the first university in the United States to offer an online Master of Social Work, you had to know that FSU was going to make our list of top programs. With 100 years of social welfare courses behind them as well as that extensive online class experience, it’s easy to see how the school makes the number one position in the state in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of online MSWs, but it’s even more impressive that it attains that position while also being one of the lowest cost, best value programs in the country. You’ll also find learning at FSU is conducted in a warm, caring, collaborative environment. It takes extra effort and expert instructors working in an online setting to deliver that kind of experience, and the strength of the social work community at FSU is unmatched. A diverse cohort brings amazing life histories and professional experience to the program, each of them with something new to teach you, just as your own valuable history will contribute to the growth and education of others in the program.

 
Fordham University

Graduate School of Social Service

New York, New York

Website

Online Master of Social Work

Four focus areas available:

  • Individuals and Families
  • Organizations and Community
  • Evaluation
  • Policy Practice and Advocacy

Cost Per Credit: $935

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Ranked #24 on the 2018 U.S. News & World Report list of Top Graduate Schools in Social Work in the United States
  • Offers a holistic approach to online learning with comprehensive support including dedicated advising, personalized guidance, 24/7 tech support, and invitations to industry events and exposure to new research
  • A Global Access Membership is included to WeWork, allowing you to use any location to study or collaborate
  • Field placement agency partnerships across the country ensure you the option to engage in field work practicum at a site near you that meets Fordham’s high standards

As a private research university, Fordham’s program isn’t the cheapest you are going to find for a master’s degree in social work, but the transformative experience you’ll get through the comprehensive online program is hard to beat at any price. You’ll need a separate contact book for all the individualized specialists responsible for helping you make the most of the program: admissions counselor, placement specialist, career services specialist, student support advisor… the list goes on! And that’s before you even reach into the deep well of the Fordham alumni community, a tightly-knit band of graduates who have gone on to make their mark in the field and who stand ready to lend you a hand getting your own career going. Courses are composed of weekly seminar-style classes punctuated by break-out sessions with groups of your peers, discussing the latest reading assignments or research projects. A spirit of inquiry and curiosity is the defining feature of the Fordham MSW program, which means no questions are too small or too crazy. With a great selection of focus areas to choose from, you’ll get every opportunity to tailor your education to your own career goals.

 
Indiana University

School of Social Work

Indianapolis, Indiana

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentrations in Clinical and Community Practice available.

Cost Per Credit: $574 (in-state), $716 (out-of-state)

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Top Ranked Master of Social Work Program in Indiana according to U.S. News & World Report
  • Offered by the oldest university-associated school of social work in the United States

IU takes a special three-phase approach to social work education, a practice borne out of many years of experience in the field. Foundation courses are offered to students with regular standing, replicating the type of education that advanced standing students (who already have a BSW) received at the bachelor’s level in an intensive 6-course sequence. Then, the program branches (or begins, for advanced standing students) into concentration courses: 5 courses the expand both breadth and depth in the field, covering everything from clinical theory to executive leadership practices. The third phase, the one you won’t necessarily find elsewhere, goes into special practice areas: a taste of the diverse range of specializations that a social worker can choose from during the course of their career, covering everything from military and veteran social work to mental health and addictions practices. IU also has some cutting edge electives you won’t find elsewhere, like the e-social work practice with groups, which goes into the best practices and policies for delivering telebehavioral health services to groups. It’s great experience and value from a public university MSW program, and it’s on offer to students anywhere in the country to take advantage of.

 
Louisiana State University

School of Social Work

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $539

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Intensive program delivery does not follow traditional semester format, allowing 3 entry point options each year (or 2 for advanced standing entry).
  • A wide array of social work organizations have chapters on campus including NASW, CSWE, SSWR, and ASWB

World-class faculty and an 80-year history of delivering quality social work education are standing behind a program that has made the leap into the 21st century with a superb online MSW option. Louisiana is a unique and diverse place that has populations experiencing every sort of trouble that a social worker can encounter, from deeply urban homelessness to rural isolation and pan-spectrum addiction issues. All that trouble and human misery is being handled by local and regional agencies that LSU’s School of Social Work is closely aligned with and serves as a tool for training as well as a focus of targeted relief for students enrolled in the program. The Advanced Generalist Practice concentration will prepare you for achieving licensure as a social worker and for delivering expert services in a clinical capacity.

 
Loyola University

School of Social Work

Chicago, Illinois

Website

Master of Social Work Online Bilingual (Spanish)

Cost Per Credit: $1,007

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Internship and research opportunities offered across more than 300 local, national, and international organizations
  • School ranked #38 in the nation among Graduate Schools of Social Work by U.S. News & World Report

Loyola’s already superb mainstream MSW program offers plenty of courses that are entirely online or available in a blended or hybrid format. But their online bilingual Master of Social Work in English and Spanish is not only available 100 percent online, but is also the first of its kind in the mainland U.S. and an innovative degree option that is just too good to pass up. Equipping social workers with the knowledge and skills to address the underserved needs of Latinx, immigrant, and refugee populations, the degree aims to boost the availability of both linguistically and culturally competent professionals in that community. The degree doesn’t just focus on immigration issues, however, but is taught by instructors with a wide variety of clinical and policy research interests, from school social work to mental health to gerontology. All of them deliver a rigorous education in the finest Jesuit tradition.

 
Morgan State University

School of Social Work

Baltimore, Maryland

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $433 (resident), $851 (out-of-state)

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • One of the first social work schools in the country to receive CSWE accreditation

Morgan State is the largest of the historically black colleges and universities in the state of Maryland and is the state’s designated research university. That offers MSW students at Morgan a unique perspective into the work of alleviating poverty, human suffering, and oppression in one of the most deeply afflicted urban areas in the country. To build future social workers qualified to address those ingrained, systemic, and devastating multi-generational issues, Morgan State adheres closely to the 11 core competencies outlined by the CSWE. The program requires that students demonstrated well-grounded knowledge of social work practices, a commitment to the ethical and value tenets that underlie modern social work practice, and a capacity to embrace ethnic and racial differences and diversity in communities. Recognizing the individual and community impacts of policy issues helps prepare you to take on not only clinical tasks but also a meaningful advocacy role as you enter the larger world of social work with a degree from MSU.

 
New Mexico State University

School of Social Work

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $253 (resident), $881 (out-of-state)

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • School hosts a chapter of the Graduate Student Social Work Association for networking and collaboration
  • The Child Welfare Scholar Program aims to increase the number of MSW graduates providing child and family services in New Mexico through a scholarship award program

NMSU offers a collaborative practice approach to social work education that promotes the skills and knowledge you’ll need for focused interventions with individuals, groups, families, and larger communities… everything from neighborhood organizing to bringing together entire states. Critical thinking skills and the differential application of advanced social work knowledge are the key to this approach, and at NMSU you’ll get a hardcore advanced generalist concentration that delivers both. With an extremely affordable in-state tuition rate, the Las Cruces-centered program is nonetheless a terrific option for any student anywhere in New Mexico who doesn’t want to relocate for school.

 
Our Lady of the Lake University

Worden School of Social Service

San Antonio, Texas

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $907

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Specific pedagogical orientation toward serving the needs of the Hispanic community
  • Awarded the 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence from CSWE, a prestigious sign of excellence among all American MSW programs

As the first school of social work in the state of Texas, Our Lady of the Lake goes way back in the field of social services education. That experience is put to good use in the modern, updated, entirely online MSW curriculum option, which gives you the solid, traditional social working knowledge, from psychopathology to social systems. As one of only three programs in the nation with an intentional orientation toward Hispanic community needs and issues, the online program of this Southwestern university serves as a resource for social work education in any of the many communities with increasing Hispanic communities across the country. The OLLU program includes a scope that extends across the lifespan, from newborns to the very elderly, equipping you to take up a clinical practice specializing in almost any demographic.

 
Portland State University

School of Social Work

Portland, Oregon

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $469 (resident), $685 (out-of-state)

  • Delivery: Primarily online, 2 days on-campus required each year for community building and instruction
  • Ranked among the best MSW degrees in the nation by U.S. News & World Report
  • The only CSWE-accredited master’s program offered in the state of Oregon
  • Concentrations available in Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations, or in Health Across the Lifespan
  • The Behavioral Health Integration Project offers field experience working with rural and/or medically underserved populations across the lifespan together with a $10,000 stipend
  • Follows a cohort model with a three-year timeline using synchronous and asynchronous delivery mechanisms

The PSU Master of Social Work program doesn’t aim low. Offering the only statewide, CSWE-accredited program in Oregon, the PSU School of Social Work has high standards for every graduate. No matter what your intended area of practice—and the degree caters to both advocacy and policy work or clinical practice with two specially focused concentration—the faculty and staff put their all into inculcating graduates with leadership and advanced practice skills that will make for outstanding social workers serving in any capacity. Critically informed, non-discriminatory, collaborative practice is the method, with the knowledge of systemic oppression and organizational processes providing the levers to push to advance the causes of social and economic justice. Professors will help you develop a plan and motivation for continued professional development, ensuring that graduation is not the final step on your path, but the first one in a lifetime career of caring and learning that will benefit individuals and community as much as yourself.

 
Samford University

School of Public Health

Birmingham, Alabama

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $829

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Concentrations offered in Advanced Clinical Social Work or Community Practice and Social Engagement
  • Offers full and part-time options for standard or advanced standing students
  • School can help organize either domestic or international field placement sites, offering you the option of getting experience exactly where you need it to meet your career goals

Christian schools are traditionally excellent venues for earning a master’s degree in social work. Samford is one of them. The MSW program leverages the values of the Christian learning community in preparing graduates for a life of service to the community. The school offers concentrations in policy and macro work as well as focused clinical practice, but both options have the unique breadth of allowing you to develop your skills in rural, urban, or international practice settings among either religious or secular organizations. The promotion of human rights and social and economic justice is taught through the lens of interprofessional collaboration, recognizing that diversity and numbers are strengths to be leveraged in the cause of alleviating suffering and improving lives and communities being confronted with the pressing issues of modern living.

 
Simmons University

School of Social Work

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Master of Social Work

Four available concentrations offer a broad spectrum of specializations to focus in:

  • Child and Family
  • Trauma and Interpersonal Violence
  • Health and Aging
  • Mental Health and Addictions

Cost Per Credit: $1,060

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Follows a cohort progression model with five start dates per year to offer both flexibility and a supportive class environment
  • The oldest school of clinical social work, founded originally in 1904

With the oldest school of social work in the country behind it, this master’s degree program doesn’t feel compelled to follow every modern twist and trend in the field; they’ve got the experience to know what’s important and how to teach it, and in this case, it’s clinical social work all the way. Simmons is where you go if you want the ultimate preparation for direct practice in hands-on settings like schools, clinics, health centers, prisons, or hospitals. A practical approach to real-world solutions characterizes the curriculum, with motivational interviewing and cognitive behavior therapy among the highlights of the treatment methods presented. To understand how and when to deploy what approaches, you’ll learn the latest theories of human development and relational and group process—having a long tradition doesn’t mean ignoring new developments at Simmons. And that’s why SocialWork@Simmons, the online version of that robust MSW program, takes those old-fashioned, reliable values and solutions and boots them solidly into the 21st century with cutting-edge synchronous and asynchronous class sessions. You get the best of both worlds with Simmons.

 
University of Central Florida

College of Health Professions and Sciences

Orlando, Florida

Website

Master of Social Work Online

Cost Per Credit: $487

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Ranked as both a best-value university by Kiplinger’s and among the nation’s most affordable college’s by Forbes magazine
  • Listed as one of the Most Innovative Universities in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report for 2018

A high-quality distance learning option is just the icing on the cake with this top-ranked social work program in sunny Florida. You can take advantage of the many asynchronous course options to spend some of your time out in that sunshine instead of inside the classroom (assuming you are at a suitable latitude—the program is open to students in all 50 states), but don’t mistake flexible for easy. UCF puts on a rigorous, innovative program that will impact your career and your way of thinking for the rest of your life as you take on big problems facing individuals and communities. The UCF faculty push you to shift your paradigms in their quest to graduate students who will become the thinkers, helpers, and makers that serve American communities for the next generation of social services.

 
University of Houston

Graduate College of Social Work

Houston, Texas

Website

Master of Social Work

Specialization in Health and Behavioral Health offered

Cost Per Credit: $434 (resident), $949 (out-of-state)

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • A cohort-based program will keep you tightly connected with fellow students as learning resources and moral supporters for one another
  • A field coordinator will assist you in organizing your local field work placements
  • Unique opportunities such as a legislative internships, the Trauma Education Project, and the Global Leaders of Behavioral Health Education program expand your horizons beyond the typical master’s experience

An affordable but comprehensive program at the University of Houston offers you the broad range of electives that you can expect from a top-ranked social work master’s degree. The online program focuses on the school’s clinical concentration, which takes you through hands-on intervention and assessment with every age group and at the family-level, focusing on providing you tools like cognitive behavioral therapies, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and psychotherapeutic techniques that you will need out in the field to triage and address the oppressed and afflicted. The online course is built for motivated and self-directed students who benefit from small class sizes, direct instructor interaction, and a diverse student population in the tight-knit cohort. Since those instructors are some of the finest in their field, you will benefit from the extra individualized attention the format provides. All this comes at an enormously affordable price tag, making UH a clear choice for a social work master’s degree no matter where you are in the country.

 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

School of Social Work

Urbana, Illinois

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentrations available in Advanced Clinical social work or Leadership and Social Change. Focuses in Advanced Clinical include:

  • Mental Health
  • Health Care
  • Children, Youth, and Family Services
  • Schools

Cost Per Credit: $579

  • Delivery: 100% online for Macro concentration; Hybrid for Clinical
  • Ranked #6 in the world among all social work programs and #5 in the United States by the Center for World University Rankings
  • The unique Illinois Placement Plan field placement system allows the potential for completing placements at your current employer if you are already working in the field

The iMSW program at Illinois is among the most innovative and flexible in the world, and you can enroll in it from anywhere in the United States at a tremendously affordable price. You get the choice of either a macro concentration in Leadership and Social Change, or a focus-oriented Advanced Clinical concentration. The Advanced Clinical concentration in iMSW is a hybrid that requires regular attendance on campus for four or fewer meetings per semester, while the LSC option can be completed entirely online. Either way, you’ll get top-quality instruction from some of the finest instructors in the field, with deep research and practice backgrounds that underpin their curriculum development and in-class teaching. Unusually, Illinois runs its field internship experience program as a block internship conducted entirely after you complete all other MSW coursework. This allows you to get the complete benefit of all the program instruction by the time you are sent out to get hands-on with real clients, enhancing your effectiveness and providing a more comprehensive integration of the various skills you will have learned.

 
University of South Florida

School of Social Work

Tampa, Florida

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $348

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Advanced standing students only, requiring that you already hold a BSW from a CSWE-accredited school
  • Has more than 350 community partnerships with over 1,000 field instructors to ensure you land in a clinical field practicum that aligns with your area of interest

Although we all like to have options, sometimes the most efficient and effective educational programs use a singular focus to help trim away all the fat and distractions and create the best possible training for a certain class or category of student. The Online Advanced Standing Master of Social Work Program at the University of South Florida is one of those. Open only to students who have earned a BSW from a CSWE-accredited school in the last five years, this approach allows USF to cut away all the foundational elements and training-wheels that other programs have to include to cater to new entries. Instead, as a fully prepared graduate student, you’ll drop right into the deep end of advanced social work education here. It’s a cohort-based program with a summer start that puts you in good company with other high-caliber students and top-notch instructors who offer plenty of individualized attention during live online class sessions. If you want a laser-focused master class in clinical social work and are prepared to hit the ground running, USF has the program for you.

 
University of Southern California

Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Los Angeles, California

Website

Online Master of Social Work

Three specializations offered:

  • Adult Mental Health and Wellness
  • Children, Youth, and Families
  • Social Change and Innovation

Cost Per Credit: $1,863

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • One of the top-ranked graduate schools in Social Work in the United States for 2019 according to U.S. News & World Report
  • Full access offered to the complete and dazzling array of USC libraries and career services both during the program and after graduation

USC is picky about admissions to their top-ranked MSW program, and for good reason: they want to surround graduate students with aspiring leaders who are capable of thriving in a demanding program lead by nationally-recognized faculty. Classes are taught seminar style in a virtual classroom with approximately twelve other students, so the people around you matter a lot. Interactive coursework and 24/7 access mean you can live up to your potential around the clock, advancing further and faster with the support and encouragement of your peers while still keeping your own career timeline. The three specialization options (called departments at USC) allow you to tailor your courses to the specific practice area you are called for… from adult mental health and wellness to child services to big-picture topics in social change and community social services, USC has a path to offer you. A generous selection of electives on top of department-specific courses allows you to round out your education with even more specific learning options to create the ideal preparation for your career in social services.

 
University of Tennessee - Knoxville

College of Social Work

Knoxville, Tennessee

Website

Master of Social Work

Clinical (Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice) or macro (Organizational Leadership) concentrations available.

Additional specialization offered through optional certificate programs in:

  • Gerontology
  • School Social Work Licensure
  • Trauma
  • Veterinary Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $626 (resident), $701 (out-of-state)

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Full and part time scheduling options
  • Best in flexibility with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online courses

The entire University of Tennessee - Knoxville online MSW program is a solid option for any student at any level of readiness to start on their social work master’s degree—full and part-time options and regular or advanced standing programs are on offer to online students. But the real gold at UTK comes in the specialization option offered by their four optional certificate programs. If you find another fully accredited social work program in the country that has a specialization in veterinary social work, looking at the human-animal relationship across all spectrums of social services, from assistance animals to dealing with the loss of pets, let us know. That kind of thoughtful, unique specialization offers an unprecedented degree of preparation for certain practical social work careers that you’ll never find at other schools. Add to that the enormous flexibility to the UTK program with its synchronous and asynchronous online courses and multiple completion options, and what you get is a place that unique students with unique and diverse interests come to build their expertise as the social workers of the future.

 
University of Denver

Graduate School of Social Work

Denver, Colorado

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentration available in Mental Health and Trauma.

Cost Per Credit: $1,320 (95% of students here receive financial assistance in the form of scholarships, grants and stipends)

  • Delivery: Online
  • University ranked among the top 10% of all social work schools in the nation
  • Outstanding opportunities for flexible and convenient study include a Denver campus program, off-site programs in Durango and Glenwood Springs, and a fully online program
  • Global learning opportunities include international and experiential courses and internships
  • Off-site MSW programs are designed to meet the needs of Colorado’s rural and tribal communities in southwestern Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico and the rural and mountain communities of Colorado’s western slope

With a position among the top 10% of social work schools in the nation, the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work stands out from the competition, whether you choose the MSW in Denver, in Durango (through the Four Corners MSW program), in Glenwood Springs (through the Western CO MSW program), or fully online. Choose the Denver campus MSW and you’ll be able to choose from eight concentrations and two graduate certificates. Choose the Four Corners or Western CO MSW program and you’ll enjoy a flexible, weekend schedule that’s designed to accommodate your busy, professional life. Or, choose the fully online MSW and you’ll be able to study from anywhere in the world and complete internships in your home community. Just some of the benefits of choosing the University of Denver for your MSW include: global learning opportunities, including international and experiential courses and internships…community outreach programs designed to meet the needs of Colorado’s rural and tribal communities in southwestern Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico and the rural and mountain communities of Colorado’s western slope…and a student-to-teacher faculty of just 14:1.

 
University of New England

School of Social Work

Biddeford, Maine

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentrations Available in:

  • Clinical Practice
  • Community Practice
  • Integrated Practice (combines clinical and community core requirements)

Cost Per Credit: $920

  • Delivery: 100% online and hybrid
  • Options to specialize through your choice of concentration or certificate program
  • Online program features a fully asynchronous learning model that allows you to study whenever and wherever it’s most convenient
  • On-campus program features a convenient blend of face-to-face and hybrid courses
  • MSW ranked among the best online programs in the U.S. by Best MSW Programs

The University of New England’s Master of Social Work is not just affordable and convenient, it’s earned a spot among the top five online programs in the U.S. by Best MSW Programs. Choose this graduate course of study and you’ll study in a student-centered, inclusive environment that features a values-based curriculum, options to specialize, and plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning. Choose the on-campus program and you’ll complete your MSW through a blend of face-to-face and hybrid courses, and you’ll complete a personalized fieldwork experience that best aligns with your career goals. Or, for the best in flexibility and convenience, choose the online MSW, which features a fully asynchronous learning model that allows you to study whenever and wherever it’s most convenient. Want to add another dimension to your MSW? Consider one of the certificate programs in today’s most relevant areas of study. As Maine’s largest private university, the University of New England features two campuses, an overseas campus in Tangier, Morocco, and internationally recognized scholars.

 
Case Western Reserve University

Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Cleveland, Ohio

Website

MS in Social Administration

Concentrations available online:

  • Children, Youth and Families
  • Community Practice for Social Change
  • Mental Health (Adults)

Cost Per Credit: $1,484

  • Delivery: 100% online
  • University ranked ninth in the nation and first in Ohio among the best Graduate Social Work Schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2018
  • Outstanding 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio is one of the lowest in the nation among schools of social work
  • All full-time MSSA students receive a $1,000 stipend each semester while working the field

Case Western Reserve University’s MS in Social Administration (equivalent to an MSW) is comprehensive, robust, and flexible and offered in full-time, part-time, and intensive weekend formats. Choose the MSSA and you’ll personalize your degree through your choice of concentrations or certificates. You’ll also learn under a world-renowned faculty in an intimate environment with an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio—one of the lowest in the nation among schools of social work. As an MSW student, you’ll also receive a $1,000 award per semester as you work in the field. In fact, all on-campus, full-time MSSA students here receive this award as to help defray expenses while working in the field. Want even more reasons this MSSA stands out from the competition? It was ranked ninth in the nation and first in Ohio among the best Graduate Social Work Schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2018.